Irina Krykbaeva, a recent PhD graduate in the Department of Pathology at Yale School of Medicine, is the winner of the 2022 Milton C. Winternitz Prize in Pathology. The prize is awarded annually to the student who, in the opinion of the department faculty and staff, has done outstanding work in the course.
Dr. Krykbaeva, who successfully defended her PhD thesis in April, “Modulating Innate Immunity Via CD40-Based Myeloid Targeting Can Overcome PD1 Resistance,” was nominated for the prize by two of her mentors, Marcus Bosenberg, MD, PhD, Professor of Dermatology, Pathology and Immunobiology, and Katerina Politi, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology.
“I am very grateful to them and they have both been wonderful mentors throughout my PhD, so I was also proud that they thought to nominate me,” said Dr. Krykbaeva, who was a member of Dr. Bosenberg’s lab.
“Dr. Bosenberg especially, as my primary mentor, has been a huge influence on my career trajectory. I did not really know anything about immunology when I started medical school and did not anticipate getting so involved in an immunology-based project. However, throughout my work in his lab, I have realized how much I love it and that has, in turn, influenced my decision of medical specialty.”
Dr. Krykbaeva is now headed to Mount Sinai in New York for an Internal Medicine Residency to pursue a fellowship in oncology and continue researching immunotherapies as cancer treatments.
The Milton C. Winternitz Prize in Pathology was established in 1950 in honor of Milton Charles Winternitz, honorary M.A. 1917, Professor of Pathology and Bacteriology, 1917–1925, Anthony N. Brady Professor of Pathology, 1925–1950.
Dr. Krykbaeva grew up in the Boston area and attended Brandeis University as an undergraduate, majoring in biology and neuroscience. She credits her parents with nurturing her love for science. Her initial plans were to pursue an MD pathway, but after college, she joined the lab of the late Susan Lundquist at MIT. She said Dr. Lindquist and a post doc in the lab, Mikko Taipale, PhD, now an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, influenced her path to pursue an MD/PhD degree.
"That was my first exposure to research and I was lucky that I got involved in some very interesting projects,” Dr. Krykbaeva said. “Mikko also taught me a lot about how to think scientifically, ask the right questions, and laid the groundwork for my future research endeavors.”
In addition to Drs. Bosenberg and Politi, her Yale mentors include David A. Hafler, MD, FANA, the William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly Professor of Neurology and Professor of Immunobiology; Faye Rogers, PhD, Associate Professor of Therapeutic Radiology; Harriet Kluger, MD, Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology); and Kelly Olino, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor of Surgery (Oncology). Dr. Krykbaeva also thanked her fellow Bosenberg Lab members and Barbara Kazmierczek, PhD, MD, the MD/PhD Program Director.